Exploring Winter Fruits and Vegetables

Take advantage of seasonal produce this winter by incorporating different fruits and vegetables in daily meals and snacks. Listed below are nutritious foods to help maintain or even increase your fruit and vegetable intake during the colder months.

Brussels Sprouts

· Health Benefits:Brussels sprouts come from the Brassicaceae family which also includes cabbage and broccoli. They grow on stalks that can reach up to three feet tall. Brussels sprouts contain isothiocyanates, a unique compound that may help prevent cancer.

· Fun Fact:Winter is particularly a good time to try Brussels sprouts because they contain more natural sugars than other times of the year.

· Uses:With the recent romaine lettuce recall, try a new salad using shaved Brussels sprouts instead of lettuce leaves. Use a mandolin slicer or thinly slice sprouts with a chef’s knife. Top with toasted walnuts, a sprinkle of Romano cheese and add 1–2 tablespoons of light salad dressing.

Louisiana Satsumas

· Health Benefits: One medium satsuma contains 25–30% of the vitamin C needed each day for adults.They are also a good source of vitamin A.

· Fun Fact:Louisiana is home to at least six different varieties of satsumas. These easy-peeling citrus fruits change from green to yellow and finally to orange as they ripen, but are edible at the yellow stage.

· Uses: Eat for a nutritious dessert or keep with you for a snack on the go. Alternatively,peel andcombine with other seasonal citrus fruits like pummelos and top with fresh mint for a fruit salad.

Collard Greens and Mustard Greens

· Health Benefits:Greens are traditional staples in southern meals, but are nutritionally underrated. Both collard and mustard greens are excellent sources of vitamins A and K and contain less than 20 calories per ½ cup raw.

· Fun fact: Consider growing your own mustard and collard greens by planting them in mid-October. Mustard greens can be harvested as soon as 5–6 weeks after planting. Collard greens are resilient vegetables that survive very cold conditions. Winter harvested collard greens tend to be sweeter due to frosting from the cold weather.

· Uses: Traditional preparation includes cooking down the greens with some type of smoked meat, garlic, and seasonings. Try making your own healthier version by cooking with chicken or vegetable stock, onion, extra garlic, and red pepper flakes. Stir in some apple cider vinegar for extra tang.

Michael Sandoz, MS, RD, LDN, CDE